Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson formally switched party allegiances Friday, announcing in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that he is renouncing his Democratic affiliation to join the Republican Party.
The move will make Dallas the most populous city in the country to have a nominally GOP mayor. The mayoralty in Texas cities is officially a nonpartisan job.
“The future of America’s great urban centers depends on the willingness of the nation’s mayors to champion law and order and practice fiscal conservatism,” wrote Johnson, 47. “Our cities desperately need the genuine commitment to these principles (as opposed to the inconsistent, poll-driven commitment of many Democrats) that has long been a defining characteristic of the GOP.”
“In other words, American cities need Republicans — and Republicans need American cities,” he added.
Johnson, who served nine years in the Texas Legislature as a Democrat before his election as mayor in 2019, charged that members of his former party who hold public office have “failed to make public safety a priority or to exercise fiscal restraint.”
He accused local Democratic officials and mayors of viewing cities “as laboratories for liberalism rather than as havens for opportunity and free enterprise.”
“Too often, local tax dollars are spent on policies that exacerbate homelessness, coddle criminals and make it harder for ordinary people to make a living. And too many local Democrats insist on virtue signaling — proposing half-baked government programs that aim to solve every single societal ill — and on finding new ways to thumb their noses at Republicans at the state or federal level. Enough. This makes for good headlines, but not for safer, stronger, more vibrant cities,” Johnson wrote.
The mayor added that he has “no intention” of changing his approach to his job in Dallas, and said that he will continue to champion policies that attract businesses, reduce taxes, invest in family-friendly infrastructure, and combat crime.
Texas Democrats blasted the mayor Friday and indicated that they were not at all surprised by Johnson’s announcement.
“Given his long-standing affinity with Republican leaders and ideology — like when he cozied up with longtime podcast host Ted Cruz at his inauguration this year — this announcement is neither surprising nor unwelcome,” Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa and Vice-Chair Shay Wyrick Cathey said in a statement.
“But the voters of Dallas deserved to know where he stood before he ran for reelection as Mayor. He wasn’t honest with his constituents, and knew he would lose to a Democrat if he flipped before the election. In a city that deserves dedicated leadership, Mayor Johnson has been an ineffective and truant mayor, not only disconnected from Democratic values, but unable to even be an effective messenger for conservative local policy. This feeble excuse for democratic representation will fit right in with Republicans — and we are grateful that he can no longer tarnish the brand and values of the Texas Democratic Party.”
The Dallas County Democratic Party similarly excoriated Johnson, calling his party switch “nothing short of an insult to the electorate.”
“This switch is the launch of a self-centered agenda that puts politics over people. Mayor Johnson has turned his back on the very voters who trusted that he would uphold our hard-fought Democratic values,” Kardal Coleman, the chairman of the Dallas County Democratic Party, said in a statement. “Just last week, the Texas Republican Party proved its standing as a party of corruption and crime by voting not to impeach Attorney General Ken Paxton. That Johnson has the gall to join a party so blatantly opposed to the values of Dallas is an embarrassment not only to him, but to our community.”
Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott celebrated Johnson joining the GOP.
“Texas is getting more Red every day,” Abbott tweeted, adding that Johnson is “pro law enforcement & won’t tolerate leftist agendas.”
Johnson revealed in his op-ed that he will be voting in the state’s GOP presidential primary next spring. His current term in office, which Johnson won unopposed, ends in 2027.
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